Our VoiceImmigration

Is Treehugger Embracing Hate?

Katie Bezrouch • Aug 15, 2009

It really bummed me out to read David Friedlander’s article on treehugger.com titled, Yale Essay Says Sustainability and Open Immigration are Often at Odds. The author is not thoroughly informed on immigration, and badly mangles the issue of sustainability and immigration. He should be careful about wandering into this area unless he is fully versed on the environmental agenda of the anti-immigrant movement.

In Friedlander’s piece, he refers to a statement made in an article posted on Yale Global: “Contrary to popular thought, the dominant force fueling America’s demographic growth is not natural increase, but immigration. This is because immigrants not only add their own numbers to the nation’s overall population, but also contribute a disproportionate number of births whose effects are compounded over time.”

Aside from the falsities present in the Yale Global article (enough for another blog post), Friedlander’s skewed interpretation is troublesome. He says, “One can also infer from his essay that immigration is also a driver of global population growth.”

That’s quite an assumption. When the author of the Yale article said that immigrants contribute a “disproportionate number of births” he was referring to (in his opinion) having “too many births” in the U.S., because of migration. When he says the effects are “compounded over time”, he is talking about the exponential growth that will occur as a result of procreation, again, in the U.S.

Friedlander, I hate to break it to you, but you fell right into the well-laid plans of anti-immigrant groups trying to create fear around immigration in the minds of environmentalists. The anti-immigrant movement is a powerful network and heavily connected to white nationalists. When true environmentalists point to “overpopulation” as a problem, they are talking about global population, not a population within a certain geographical region. And population control, which is the next conversation after overpopulation has been established, is a topic rife with controversy.

Although Treehugger.com has pretty moderate “ecological” viewpoints, it is still considered one of the top sites for information on environmental issues.

But this isn’t the first time Treehugger has veered severely off the environmental line. Take, for example, Tom Szaky’s article about importing labor. Here he claims to solve the problem of U.S. jobs going overseas by proposing “manufacturing towns” in which immigrants are permitted to earn two dollars per hour for up to ten years when they can finally be granted citizenship.

In Szaky’s own words, “This solution would give American manufacturing companies the low-cost labor they require domestically, boost the US population with hard-working immigrants, and revive our old manufacturing towns (among other things).”

Szaky’s article has zero consideration for workers’ rights, to say nothing of very basic human rights. It’s a sick, punitive statement that smacks of an ugly era in American history. Environmental sites need to be weary of publishing controversial “immigration” pieces. Why? Their writers are not experts on immigration, and are susceptible to “experts” with menacing agendas. Readers too need to think critically about what is written on environmental sites and call out editors when they detect discriminatory elements.

It reflects poorly on all environmentalists when respected sites like Treehugger.com lend a voice to bigotry.

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